Voices of Faith

The First Sunday of Advent

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Dear Friends:

Watch! Jesus does not tread lightly with his admonition to pay attention and to be diligent about our faith. As we begin a new year in the life of the Church with the beginning of Advent this weekend, we focus our attention on the whole reason for our practice of the faith: to be with Jesus who wants to be with us. He is Emmanuel, the name which means “God is with us.” During Advent we sing “O come, o come, Emmanuel,” expressing our desire for God’s presence. Before we celebrate Christmas, these days of Advent help us to align our hearts with the Church’s longing for the Savior. We can only celebrate that Christ is born for us when we recognize our need and our desire for Christ to be with us. I invite you in the rush of preparations for Christmas to find some rare quiet moments to reawaken that sense of longing, desire, and expectation for the Lord. We have ample opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Advent as a means of preparing our hearts.

Next weekend we will gather for our annual bilingual celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas. We will honor the Virgin of Guadalupe at the Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m., with a festive celebration in the Multi-Purpose Room immediately following. This is a significant feast for many Latin American cultures, and this feast unites North, Central, and South America under the patronage of Mary.

Looking ahead, we are honored to welcome Archbishop William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, as the celebrant for the 4:00 p.m. Mass in the Church on Christmas Eve! I am honored that he chose to spend part of his Christmas celebration with us here at Saint Joseph. Keep in mind that this is already the most crowded Mass of Christmas, so please plan accordingly. We have added an additional Mass at 6:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room in the hope that some will choose to spread out a bit to other masses to accommodate the many visitors who will join us.

God’s peace to you this week,

Fr. Rick